In the article published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, researchers explain how tomato compounds, such as lycopene, act against the development of tumor cells originating from the colon, preventing its proliferation.
Researchers from the Chemistry of Biomolecules and Food Processes at the University of Almeria have confirmed in vitro cell lines that tomato extracts have activity against colon cancer. In addition, they have verified that some varieties act more intensely than others against the proliferation of cancer cells. The study also points out the benefit of olive oil in conjunction with tomato.
In the article published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, researchers explain how certain tomato compounds, such as lycopene, act against the development of tumor cells originating from the colon, preventing its proliferation.
Scientists, moreover, have included tests where the joint effect in the cell cultures of tomato carotenoids with olive oil has been analyzed. These trials confirm significantly higher inhibitory effects than those obtained from each of them acting separately. According to these experts, there are many different compounds with antitumor action in olive oil, such as polyphenols, which add to the action of bioactive tomato substances. In research developed in vitro they have observed how any tomato variety prevents the proliferation of colorectal cancer cells at very low concentrations. However, more colored varieties have a higher capacity, as they contain a higher proportion of lycopene and fatty acids. «While all tomatoes provide bioactive compounds to the body, these researches mark the difference between different varieties and show how olive oil amplifies its intensity. This confirms that certain culinary preparations of the Mediterranean diet, such as gazpacho or salads, can be excellent allies in the prevention of some types of cancer «, says the researcher of the University of Almería José Luis Guil Guerrero, one of the authors of the Article.
The Mediterranean diet, under the microscope
Within the Mediterranean diet are numerous recipes that unify both ingredients: gazpacho, salmorejo, salads, fried tomatoes, juice, etc. Therefore, this research further confirms previous studies on the beneficial effects attributed to this typical southern European dietary pattern. During the trials, the researchers worked with HT-29 cell lines, a line of human colorectal cancer.
All tomato varieties were analyzed for their composition in bioactive compounds, such as carotenoids, sterols, phenolic acids and fatty acids. Thus they were able to determine the action of different concentrations of these extracts against cancer cells, comparing them with controls of these cells without adding extracts and against other non-tumor cells also coming from the colon.
The results showed that while tomato compounds act against tumor cells, healthy cells are not compromised by their action. On the other hand, it has been confirmed that some tomato types are more efficient in this activity than others. Specifically, the reddest and rounder ones are those that produce a more active response against tumor cells in vitro. In this same line, another of the tests carried out has aimed at vegetables such as arugula and canon, which also exert antitumor actions against colorectal cancer cells. In this case, it was found that extracts of arugula not only inhibit proliferation, but also affect the integrity of tumor cells, causing remarkable damage to their membranes.